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SEIU Local 73: Statement of support for Human Rights Day 7 in the Philippines

By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73.

On International Human Rights Day, December 10, the Philippine National Police raided the homes and jailed Dennise Velasco of Defend Jobs Philippines; Romina Astudillo, Deputy Secretary-General of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Metro Manila; Mark Ryan Cruz, Regional Executive Committee of KMU-Metro Manila; Jaymie Gregorio Jr. of KMU-Metro Manila; Joel Demate of Solidarity of Labor Rights and Welfare (SOLAR); Rodrigo Esparago of Sandigang Manggagawa sa Quezon City (SMQC), and journalist Lady Ann Salem, Communication Officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television and editor for the online news site Manila Today. The raids allegedly generated an armory of high-powered rifles and explosives in each of the residences searched.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's repressive regime has killed at least 8,000 people in an alleged “war on drugs” targeting opponents of the regime, including human rights defenders, trade unionists, and land rights activists. In July, Duterte imposed a draconian anti-terror law making it even easier to crush his opponents.

Duterte’s repression has been enabled by supplies of U.S. weaponry and military aid in excess of $500 million since 2016, the year Duterte took power.

We strongly condemn the repression unleashed against leading trade unionists in the Philippines and demand the immediate release of the Human Rights Day 7.

We call on Congress to immediately pass the Philippine Human Rights Act (PHRA) which would “suspend United States security assistance to the Philippines until such time as human rights violations by Philippine security forces cease and the responsible state forces are held accountable.”

Dian Palmer

President, SEIU Local 73

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